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We’ve written about seasonal allergies before, what causes them and how they affect sleep. Basically, environmental changes in different seasons can cause an increase in the amount of allergens such as pollen that we are exposed to, causing a flare up of allergy symptoms.
In today’s post, we take a season by season look at different kinds of seasonal allergies. We discuss what allergies you need to look out for and when they are more likely.
Spring: Pollen & Mold
What a beautiful time of the year. Birds singing, flowers blooming, the weather getting warmer and many more beautiful sights, smells and sounds.
But not everything spring brings with it is good. Behind all that beauty is a rapid increase in the amount of environmental allergens. In fact, spring is one of the worst seasons for allergies, so much so that it’s sometimes referred to as allergy season along with fall.
The reason spring is bad for allergies is that it’s when many plants, especially trees, are blooming. The flowers release lots of pollen into the air. This coincides with people going outdoors more often thanks to the warmer weather. So you get exposed to lots of pollen.
But even if you stay home, some pollen will still find its way inside.
As spring rolls on, grasses also begin to release pollen. So the entire spring season can leave you feeling like you have a constant cold with symptoms like itchy eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, and more.
It’s not just pollen allergies that you need to worry about in spring. For people who are allergic or sensitive to mold spores, this is also a bad time. As the weather warms up and there’s more moisture in the environment, mold thrives and releases microscopic spores.
If you have mold growing in your home, it can cause more severe symptoms.
What to Do
- Get ready with the allergy medication that works best for you. It will help you cope with the symptoms.
- Wear a face mask when you go outdoors. It can provide significant relief from allergies. An N95 mask can block tiny pollen and mold spores as small as 3 micrometers. Our Aplu mask not only protects you from allergens (and Covid), it’s also comfortable to wear for extended periods and prevents mask acne.
- When you are indoors, keep doors and windows closed to reduce the amount of outdoor allergens getting in.
- A HEPA air purifier will help keep allergens inside your home to a minimum.
Summer: Mold, Smoke, Dust Mites & Pollen
Pollen allergies are not as bad in summer as they are in spring, but they can still cause quite some discomfort. So you still need to protect yourself from tree and grass pollen especially when you are outdoors. Put on your mask along with sunscreen.
Mold thrives in summer as temperatures and humidity soar. You need to be especially careful about any mold growing inside your home. Dust mites also love warmth and high humidity, so dust mite allergies tend to flare up in summer.
With the climate changing, summers are hotter and wildfires are becoming a lot more common. This introduces smoke into the air which can carry over a very large area. So even if there isn’t a wildfire nearby, you may still suffer from smoke allergy symptoms such as wheezing, stinging eyes and scratchy throat.
What to Do
- Carry on with the same protective measures for spring. Namely, wear a mask outdoors, keep windows closed to keep out outdoor allergens and have allergy medication on hand.
- We highly recommend a HEPA air purifier to protect your home from pollen, mold spurs, dust and even wildfire smoke. Look for an automatic purifier that cleans the air automatically when it detects pollutants.
- Look out for any damp spots in your home such as in the bathroom, basement and closets. Deal with any leaks and keep your home well ventilated to keep mold from growing. If there’s too much humidity, get a dehumidifier to keep moisture levels low.
- To prevent mold from growing outside your home, clean gutters and clear away piles of leaves.
Fall: Ragweed Pollen
Fall is the other dreaded ‘allergy season’. The biggest villain is ragweed. How bad is this weed? A single plant can produce over a billion particles of pollen. Now imagine what an entire bush of ragweed can do.
Ragweed allergy starts in late summer and continues well into fall. If you have spring pollen allergies, it is highly likely that you will also be affected by ragweed pollen.
On top of that, you still have to worry about all the other allergens. The weather is still warm and humid enough, especially at the start of fall, for mold and dust mites.
What to Do
- Stay indoors especially around the morning hours when the amount of ragweed pollen peaks. You can check your local pollen count to know when to avoid outdoors.
- If you have to go outdoors, wear a mask to avoid breathing in the pollen.
- If you are driving, keep windows closed to prevent pollen from getting in the car.
- Take off your shoes, jacket and any outer wear before getting inside the house. Take off the other clothes before you sit on the sofa or bed.
- Cleaning and vacuuming your home daily can help reduce pollen build up.
Winter: Pet Dander, Dust & Dust Mites
Pollen allergies subside during winter. People with mold allergies also get some relief as the cold weather causes mold to go dormant. But there are still a few allergens to look out for.
One of them is pet dander. You are spending more time indoors with your pet, so you are exposed to more pet dander especially if you let your pet stay on your bed or sofa.
Another allergy concern is dust. In winter, homes are tightly closed up against the cold, so dust can quickly accumulate with nowhere to go. As we turn on heat, ducts and vents also release dust that has built up over the previous months.
Dust can also bring in dust mites.
What to Do
- Dust your home before winter arrives.
- Do a maintenance run on AC and heating systems. Have the ducts and vents cleaned and replace any filters that need to be changed.
- Use a HEPA air purifier to keep indoor air clean and allergen-free.
- If you have pets, clean/vacuum floors and soft surfaces daily to prevent a build up of dander. To prevent allergy symptoms from disrupting your sleep, do not let your pet sleep in your bed or bedroom.